To become a professional ballet dancer is hard enough. To become the ballerina of a company, which is the one best female dancer in a professional ballet company, is incredibly hard. Some companies never give that title to any one dancer.
To become a professional ballet dancer, you have to have the body, facility and musicality for dance. That is way more than just being thin and the right height. You have to have the feet, turnout, achilles tendons, long limbs and short torso long with a few other things that no amount of training can change. You have to be in the 2?f the population that was born that way.
Next you need the right training starting at a young enough age. That means either a feeder school for a professional ballet company or one of the few great independent schools like the Harid Conservatory in FL or CPYB in PA. To get into any of these schools you are screened for body, facility and musicality first. (CPYB does have a non pro track as well but to get into the pro track you have to have the body.)
Schools like SAB, wont take an untrained dancer over the age of 10. This is the time where people love to mention Misty Copeland who started ballet at 13. Misty is one in a million and was born with such gifts for ballet. She also was lucky enough to begin class with a teacher who saw her potential and got her into professional training almost immediately. There was even a custody battle with her mother so she could be taken from home and would be able to study ballet full time.
Dancers on track for a career in the ballet often dorm at their academies if they don't live close. They are either home schooled or take their academics as arranged by their academies so they can take 20-30 hours of technique classes a week and graduate high school early so they can dance in the ballet. Training is expected to be complete at age 16 when you apprentice with a company and then join as corps de ballet 6 months later if asked. (In Misty's case because of her late start she was in ABT 2 , the studio company at 18 and joined as corps de ballet in ABT at age 19)
Even of the girls who start at the right age, with gifts of body, facility and musicality, and who study at the best schools like SAB, not all make the professional ranks. There are so few jobs and many well trained dancers.
In December, the January issue of DANCE magazine and Pointe magazine come out with the lists of summer intensive auditions. If you are interested in a school for the fall term, then it is a good idea to audition for their SI if you want to go that route and cannot travel for an audition at the school for their full time program. It is true that a few girls get asked to come to a school full time after a summer intensive, but there is no reason that you have to wait for that. You can audition for the fall/winter program at almost any time. They do have auditions scheduled at certain times fo the year, but most will see dancers with potential at any time. You just have to contact the school to make special arrangements. Most summer intensives are really just money makers for the school and the JKO school which is the school for ABT, only looks at dancers from the NYC ABT intensive for their school. The other ABT intensives are farmed out and if you get placed there, they are not interested in you for their school. Getting into ABT NYC is certainly no guarantee that you will be asked to join the fall term at JKO. Often only one or two dancers from the entire SI get asked. The same is true with the SAB SI.
Regarding opening a dance studio out of college, that is certainly do-able. Make sure you take classes in dance pedagogy and dance kinesioloigy along with some business courses. Look for a BA not a BFA in dance for that. Perhaps minor in business, but just taking some business courses will do too.
@ Anonymous- I know of no ballet company that has 400 members. NYCB which is considered a very large company has 90-100 dancers tops in the company at any one time. Since they let go 11 corps de ballet dancers a few years ago the number has been closer to 90 dancers. Most ballet companies have a lot less dancers in them. ABT, which is also a very large company, currently has 86 dancers in their company. Smaller regional companies like Atlanta Ballet have 21 dancers in their company. 20-25 dancers is the norm for most companies not counting apprentices.
Also....in anther answer you said you have only trained for 3 years. That hardly sounds like a retired soloist from a ballet company. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AkIg.kel9g65YL0tUh.5PwXsy6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20111018195519AAbRBaA
In a question you asked just 10 hours ago, you are still in school and like a boy "in the same grade" http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AtF7P4nYKP2nfPEYJdu0XZLsy6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20111018174910AA0ysJ3
Some of your information is valid. Faking credentials gives you less not more credibility.